The sun was shining last week as Taoiseach, Enda Kenny visited the Cooley peninsula to officially open Carlingford’s new Skypark.
This is Ireland’s largest outdoor zip line adventure park.
The Taoiseach had just managed to see off a fortnight of political Tarzan swings and tightropes so this was undoubtly a welcome relief.
He was warmly welcomed to the park by owners Tom McArdle, his wife Mary McArdle, their son Thomas McArdle and of course, Simba, the family dog.
He was then given a tour of Skypark by Tom McArdle and spent time meeting with staff, builders and local business people from Carlingford who attended the opening.
The Taoiseach said the new venture was an exciting new tourism attraction and a fantastic asset for the east coast.
“It will help the area to attract more visitors from home and abroad,” he said. “The Government is prioritising a new tourism strategy to add 50,000 jobs to the sector over the next decade and support the creation of jobs in every county, town and village in the country.
“Facilities like Skypark contribute greatly to a vibrant tourism sector and I want to congratulate everyone involved for bringing this project to life.” This exciting, fun and unique family attraction was developed by the McArdle family using their 25 years experience at Carlingford Adventure Centre and with guidance and financial assistance from Louth Leader, they have created this visitor attraction.
Tom McArdle, managing directer of the Skypark said he is delighted with how well the new facility has turned out.
“Today is an exciting day for us all,” said Mr McArdle at the opening.
“We have developed an excellent facility and we are delighted to get Skypark up and running.
“We are sure it will enhance Carlingford’s reputation as a premier tourist destination.”
Skypark comprises over 70 challenges over four different courses, encompassing eight acres, with zip lines, rock climbing towers, suspension bridges, Tarzan swings, tightropes, rope bridges, cargo nets, base jumps and tree houses.
It looks set to be a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.
Gary Breen Head of Operations Failte Ireland explained the importance of developing tourism offerings in the area.
“As the national tourism authority we look forward to supporting this development in Carlingford,” said Mr Breen.
“Skypark will ensure that there is a great reason for visitors to come and indeed return to Carlingford this year, and into the future.”
Local Fianna Fail councillor Peter Savage was also at the event and said that the new park will very attractive to tourists.
“It is an excellent facility,” said Cllr Savage. “The tourism industry is on the rise and this facility will only help to expand it further.”
For further information on the Skypark visit www.facebook.com/skyparkcarlingford.
For more photos see pages 24-25.